Major: Computer Science

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

When Lamar Oglesby ’07 first arrived at Bloomsburg, he wasn’t fully prepared for the academic rigors of college. But thanks to some good advice and mentors who pointed him in the right direction, he found his way to success. Now he’s helping the next generation.

Lamar and his wife Dominika always knew they wanted to give back to support students who came from similar backgrounds as them, but really didn’t know how to get started.

“We always gave back to BU and various organizations through financial contributions, volunteering, and supporting the entrepreneurs and businesses of Bloomsburg University alumni as well,” Lamar says. “Then we saw a story in the university magazine about a gift called a virtual endowment and discovered we could make a gift that was very meaningful to us personally.”

Lamar and Dominika, who met at Bloomsburg, value their experience at BU and the relationships they built as students, and wanted to give back in a way that would commemorate that time. The best way for them to do that was to make a gift that would create a legacy of opportunity while supporting current students who face some of the same struggles they did.

The virtual endowment allows Lamar and Dominika to establish a scholarship through a planned gift to the university in their will. They are also able to make an immediate impact on student success by providing an annual gift for current use to their scholarship fund to benefit a student in the ACT 101 program.

Lamar, who was recently promoted to the position of director of grants and contract accounting at Rutgers University, plans to begin his doctorate work in higher education leadership in 2020. Back when he was a freshman at Bloomsburg, he wasn’t as confident about his educational aspirations, which is what makes this gift so important to him.

“When I first decided to go to Bloom, I wasn’t required to participate in the ACT 101 program, but it was highly suggested and it was the best advice I took,” Lamar adds. “I was very under-prepared academically, but the program really helped to prepare me for the rigors of college.”

In addition to the normal challenges of college life, Lamar’s financial circumstances were very unstable, which added a lot of stress. He had to take on full-time employment along with being a full-time student, as well as other means to generate income. “Financial stress can lead good people to make poor decisions. I was one of those students who put their future at risk in an attempt to alleviate some of their financial pressures,” he says.

The young couple, who lives in Philadelphia with their four children Lamar Jr., Keith, Arya-Rose and Demi-Rose, certainly have a lot of reasons to allocate their finances to other needs. But they have made giving back, particularly in a way that will support the growing black student population, a priority.

“We are very giving people,” Oglesby adds. “When we thought about giving back to Bloom, the question was never whether or not we would, or why we would, it was about how we would. When we saw that we could help young students of color who came from where we came from and faced similar challenges, we knew we were making the right decision.”